Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

Sex for a stuffy nose

Posted in news by jenapincott on February 16, 2009

flu3 At the height of cold season, it seems worth mentioning a recent article in one of my favorite journals, Medical Hypotheses, that claims that sex alleviates cold symptoms.

The logic is as follows: a cold results in congestion and inability to breathe through the nose. Decongestants can solve the problem, but they’re addictive, ultimately ineffective — worse yet — they may blunt the taste buds. Of course, blowing the nose clears the nasal passages, but a recent Times article reported that nose blowing is actually bad because it reverses the flow of mucus into the sinuses, building up pressure and slowing down drainage.

The safer, more natural way to alleviate sinus pressure, according to the Medical Hypotheses authors, is to have sex — and to adhere to “proper scheduling….[to keep] the nose clear for the rest of [one’s] life.” Arousal stimulates adrenergic receptors, which are under the control of the sympathetic nervous system. The receptors in turn trigger vasoconstriction of blood vessels, which in turn help unstuff the stuffy nose. (According to a similar theory, sex may also cure a headache.) Focusing on men, the authors note that relief should immediately follow orgasm. In short, the nose shouldn’t be blown — rechannel your blowing efforts below the belt.

But does it really help? In theory, frequent sex (or masturbation) should keep the blood vessels constricted and the nose clear. Anecdotal reports say yes, sex clears the nose (and even the mind), but no serious study has been done to prove it really works.

My guess? I suspect that it’s true, sex really does clears nasal passages, but relief probably doesn’t not last long before you need to do it again — in which case, Sudafed must be replaced by Viagra.


6 Responses

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  1. judy said, on February 18, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    a timely post. i’m just getting over a cold. sex was not high on my list of “things i want to do while i feel this crappy,” but then i didn’t know the medicinal benefits to be had! (on the other hand, there just might be too many types of mucus in this mix for me.)

    • jenapincott said, on February 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

      I think you have to try it — for scientific purposes, of course — and let us know if it works!

  2. amanda said, on March 25, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Well, I just googled orgasm+ clears up stuffy nose BECAUSE I have just discovered this on my own. It’s amazing. My nose is sore from blowing it all day and yet this has done the trick on its own, two nights in a row!

  3. Utirwerty said, on April 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm


  4. me said, on April 9, 2010 at 2:11 am

    idk about waiting for the orgasm but I suffer from near constant congestion and when I play solitare sometimes it clears right up :p

  5. Max nose said, on March 14, 2018 at 11:38 pm


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